UN rapporteurs abuse mandate on biased China human rights statement: experts

By Liu Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/28 23:28:44

Chen Xu, China's permanent representative to the United Nations Office at Geneva, speaks during the opening ceremony of the photo exhibition "Home: Glimpse of People from Various Ethnic Groups in Xinjiang" in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 2. More than 100 pictures and videos presenting a beautiful, open, and richly-endowed Xinjiang were on display Monday here inside the Palais Des Nations during the 43rd regular session of the UN Human Rights Council. The exhibition has three divisions with respective themes of peace and stability, cultural prosperity, and religious harmony. Photo: Xinhua

China's Permanent Mission to the United Nations Office at Geneva and Other International Organizations in Switzerland and Chinese experts refuted so-called independent "experts" of the UN Human Rights Council on a joint statement that criticized China for "repression of fundamental freedoms," saying that they abused their mandate out of ulterior motives and issued a press release attacking China based on unverified information. 

Around 50 "experts," most special rapporteurs of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), on Friday called for "decisive measures" to protect "fundamental freedoms in China" and denounced "repression" in China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. 

They questioned China's national security legislation for the HKSAR, accusing China of violating its international legal obligations and imposing severe restrictions on civil and political rights in Hong Kong.  

These "experts" trespassed on their mandate and issued an erroneous statement against China, which seriously distorted facts, severely infringed upon China's sovereignty, interfered in its internal affairs and flagrantly violated the Charter of the UN. China categorically rejects and strongly condemns it, China's Permanent Mission to the UN Office at Geneva and Other International Organizations in Switzerland said in a statement over the weekend.   

A source close to the United Nations HRC told the Global Times on Sunday that the statement which is based on bias and unverified information was pushed by one special rapporteur who then colluded with and persuaded other rapporteurs to sign it. 

Experts reached by the Global Times said that among the around 50 "experts," not many have a clear understanding of China's "one country, two systems" in its HKSAR and few have ever visited Xinjiang or know the policies there. 

"The statement from the 'experts' does not represent the HRC's views and the independence of the rapporteurs is under question as many of them sign statements on issues that are not their areas of specialty, and they lack full understanding of the topics," Zhu Ying, deputy director of the National Human Rights Education and Training Base of Southwest University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times.

Zhu noted that one purpose for the statement from the so-called experts is to build up momentum and atmosphere to criticize China at the 44th Session of the HRC, which is scheduled to kick off on Tuesday.

The Special Rapporteurs, independent experts and working groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, which is the council's monitoring mechanism They are not UN staff. 

In recent years some Special Procedures' "experts" have repeatedly abused their mandates out of ulterior motives and made press release based on unverified information to interfere with the sovereignty and internal affairs of countries, to the extent of hijacking the work of the inter-governmental organization consisting of sovereign states, according to the permanent mission's release. It also called for the HRC to hold misconduct by these "experts" accountable.

Another point to question the fairness and independence of the statement of the Special Rapporteurs is that no voice from China has been considered, experts said.

For years, Chinese experts have been excluded from the Special Rapporteurs group because some people choose to ignore or deny Chinese scholars' independent voices and their endeavor to take part in the Special Procedures, Zhu said. 

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